“In a world…”

CinemaaustraliaI like movie trailers. I like them a lot. They’ll be my focus here, based on what I read in Robert Marich’s Marketing to Moviegoers: a Handbook of Strategies and Tactics. I’ll never forget when I saw the teaser for David Fincher’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo when I went to see X-Men: First Class. I wasn’t expecting it at all, and it was unlike any trailer I had seen before. It highlights the films excellent cinematography in rapid succession along with a version of “Immigrant Song” that is even grittier than Zeppelin’s. If you haven’t watched it, watch it (with headphones if they’re handy). I was fortunate enough to see it in a theater, equipped with a wonderful sound system. If you don’t have the same reaction when watching it on your laptop, that might be the reason why. As I recall, I was teary eyed when it ended, just out of sheer awe. It really is something. Wow, I’ve really talked that teaser up. Now, watch it.

An important development in our intake of teaser and trailers is their availability online. We now have the ability to watch movie trailers over and over and over again (which I did with The Dark Knight Rises trailer #1 and the fairly-recent Godzilla teaser). And now, with these “tell-all” trailers that have been more and more prevalent in recent years, the combination of these spoilery trailers and the ability to re-watch them at our convenience is worrisome, at least to me. Our very own Jess Segal refuses to watch trailers for movies she’s excited about, due to them giving away too much. I don’t have that sort of self control, as evidenced above. I used to look up Lost spoilers, I ashamed to say. Misleading trailers are another story; I hadn’t thought of them in this way before now, but misleading trailers can serve as a quasi-plot twist that exists outside of the film; people go in expecting one sort of film, based on what they’ve seen in trailers, and they are (hopefully) pleasantly surprised by what the film turns out to be.

In creating trailers, no one is shy about being derivative. A trailer that reminds moviegoers of hit films from the past is considered effective in selling the new film, and a new trailer may imitate the style of an old trailer. (Marich, 31)

I’d be hard pressed to find someone in this class who hasn’t seen an example of this. Everyone remembers the Inception trailer’s  “BWAAAA” sound effect that became the go-to audio device for seemingly every trailer afterward. Here are some prime examples: 

I argue that the voice of the late Don LaFontaine, voice-over artist extraordinaire, is an example of this as well. In a world where Mr. LaFontaine is no longer with us, the popular trailer opening phrase “In a world” is no longer a trailer trope. Now that I think about it, trailer narrations are pretty rare these days, unless the narration is done by a character in the film.

There has been a development while I’ve been writing this post. Trailer #1 for Godzilla has been released. Being a fan of the first trailer, I turned off the light, put on headphones, and set YouTube’s resolution to 1080p– to get the fullest “theater” experience I could. I even made a sarcastic remark regarding Bryan Cranston’s wig to an imaginary moviegoer sitting next to me, which is in no way sad. There were plenty of derivations in the trailer, like the four “BWAAAAs” they used in the beginning, and the classic increasingly loud, tense noise suddenly going silent while the screen cuts to black. Like the first trailer, it used music from 2001: A Space Odyssey, which is just about my favorite film. I even noticed something misleading– did you notice the background in the Statue of Liberty shot? It must be the Las Vegas replica, no? Perhaps this Godzilla won’t go to NYC, separating it from Roland Emmerich’s awful 1998 adaptation. But I digress. Robert Marich’s book has illustrated just how complex and diverse the world of film marketing is, and with this new knowledge of trailers “the world will never be the same.




Works Cited

Marich, Robert. Marketing to Moviegoers: A Handbook of Strategies and Tactics. Carbondale: Southern Illinois U.P., 2013. PDF.

Image found through Creative Commons.



  1. I tried to count the number of edits in the trailer for The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.. I was doing fine up until the last 10-15 seconds, at which point I had counted about 130 cuts, which would put the final number close to 150 different shots in an 89-second trailer. With each image lasting only about half a second, I was a bit teary-eyed by the end of myself!


  1. […] like my friend Charlie, I like trailers a lot. However, I eventually realize I don’t treat them the same way like I […]

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